New ‘Hook’ malware allows hijacking, real-time spying on Android devices

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Android users should be aware that there is dangerous new banking app malware specifically attacking Android devices. The malware is called Hook, and it’s targeting thousands of people across the U.S.

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What does Hook do?

Security researchers at ThreatFabric were able to uncover the information on this malware. Hook allows hackers to take over a person’s Android phone remotely. It can do this by using Virtual Network Computing to hijack the phone, send virtual swipe gestures, scroll, take screenshots and simulate key presses.

Hook was detected by ThreatFabric researchers to be a variant of Ermac, which is one of the highest detected malware families out there. Aside from completely taking over a device, Hook can also act as a file manager, view or download any images onto a phone, and use existing Android APIs also known as an Application Programming Interface to steal files.

Who is Hook targeting?

Hook is mainly targeting users from 10 top countries, with the United States, Spain and Australia being the top 3. It’s going after lots of popular apps as well. 

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One of the most common tricks it’s pulling is the “open WhatsApp” command, where it will open the messaging app WhatsApp and allow the malware to log in and even send messages. 

This is how it spreads malware to other users, creating a disastrous domino effect. A complete list of apps being targeted by Hook can be found at the bottom of ThreatFabric’s report.

Android users should be careful about new malware known as Hook.
(Kurt Knutsson)

How can I prevent this from happening to me?

There are a few steps you can take to make sure that this type of malware does not take over your Android device.

  • Never download apps from outside sources: if the app you’re looking at is not coming directly from the Google Play Store, do not bother downloading it
  • Be mindful of accessibility: Hook is another type of malware that relies on accessibility services permission to function. Always be mindful of what permissions you are giving your apps
  • Install antivirus software: having antivirus software on your device is the best way to prevent any type of malware from intruding. See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by searching “Best Antivirus” at CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.

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Related: Free antivirus: should you use it?

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(Kurt Knutsson)

How are you keeping your devices protected? We want to hear from you.

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